Gun violence in rap is nothing new, but Chief Keef (née Keith Cozart) has been singled out among critics of the music genre. Keef’s raps are notable because he hails from Chicago, a city where gun violence is so rampant that President Obama mentioned it in his speech about  gun control following the Newton, Connecticut tragedy. Keef also stands out because he is a polarizing figure; he was criticized for allegedly mocking the death of 18 year-old Lil Jojo and he was kicked off Instagram when he posted a picture of himself receiving oral sex. He is currently under house arrest for pointing a firearm at a Chicago police officer and facing court charges for violating probation.

Despite the controversy, Chief Keef is well on his way to becoming a household name in hip hop. He received over 20 million views on YouTube, appeared at Lollapalooza and has been cosigned by established rappers like 50 Cent. To many, he’s considered the face of Chicago’s emerging “Drill” scene, even inspiring an article in The New York Times. Perhaps that’s why Interscope moved forward with the release of his first major label debut, “Finally Rich,” this Tuesday, a move which is drawing ire.

A Chicago-based blogger for NBC Chicago 5, Edward McClelland, is making headlines for an op-ed piece called “Another Reason I Don’t Like Chief Keef.” In the article, McClelland went so far as to boycott the release in light of the homicide crisis in Chicago and the Newton, Connecticut tragedy. He even called Keef’s album a minstrel show:

“Since last week’s murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, though, I haven’t had the stomach for any violent entertainment […] While I was watching this Sunday’s Bears game, ads for the movies Gangster Squad and Django Unchained came on TV. Both ads packed two or three shootings into 30 seconds. I don’t want to see either. A culture that glorifies the sexiness of the man with the gun is one reason we have 300,000,000 guns in America. I also don’t want to pay $14 for the minstrel show of listening to a real live South Side thug. I don’t want to support a scene that makes gangbanging a resume builder for music success.”

McClelland is not alone in his criticism. Chief Keef is frequently criticized for celebrating violence in a city that has the worst murder rate in the nation. The timing of his first major-label release just makes it more deplorable. There’s no good time to glorify gun violence, but in light of the homicide crisis in Chicago as well as the Newton, Connecticut tragedy, the release of Chief Keef’s “Finally Rich” can be seen as irresponsible, insensitive and highly inappropriate.

Speak on it Clutchettes and Gents: What are your thoughts on the release of Chief Keef’s “Finally Rich”? 

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  • Concerned

    Trinidad James is another “artist” who should be boycotted. His music and clown video(s) is the ultimate minstril show. When you are young, you do not realize the overall damage that is being done. But as you grow older and wiser, the domino-effect becomes more apparent. Not all rap is bad, and the genre itself should not be considered “bad music” because that statement do not blame the appropriate individuals and it certainly do not shine a light on the machine that is behind the negativity in ALL music genres that we should explore as well.

  • lisa

    You know yall act like chief keef was the one who did the killings shame on yall for trying to stop someone from making money the only way they kno how he ain’t the only rapper rapping about violence get over it geeshh and bet all you are white…smfh the same color that take those kids lifes

    • Mademoiselle

      “making money the only way they kno how”


  • Citgo

    To be honest everybody is on a high horse if you really want to help work with kids in your community build a relationship with them and process with them that chief sosa is just entertainment…this is no different then when we were kids just the kids say more explicit stuff and our kids are desensitized to it.. I bought the album the beats are good the raps are preschoolish but hey being a mc not for everybody..I need the credibility so youth I work with will believe in what I’m saying… Do the same or sit back and complain… Process with kids that if u think wrestling is real then you will probably belief cheif keef will shoot!! But putting chief Sosa and newtown ct in the same sentence is disrespectful just not the same!